Having completed the Swiftwater awareness course I was keen to purse my interest in this area. Flood Rescue within the SES has certainly taken off in the past 12 months.
On the 6-7-8th March I got the opportunity to develop my Flood Rescue capability by undertaking the Technicians course. Once again, the course was held at Penrith White-water facility. 12 SES members from across the state had gathered for what turned out to be a very demanding and intensive 3-day course.
Early on Saturday we did a quick refresher on what we should’ve remembered. The “strainer” once again brought people unstuck, from there we moved onto some new and exciting procedures such as rescuing floaters, live bait retrievals and much more. No sooner had started than the day was drawing to an end and by the looks on peoples faces everyone was feeling the pinch of a long and exhaustive day.
Our accommodation for the weekend was Penrith Leagues Club, which over the years has been an old stomping ground off mine. Over the next 3 days we enjoyed some great food and beverage as a guest of the club.
Sunday started with some rope techniques across flowing water, these were not too dissimilar to our VR stuff but just in a different application. Tensioned diagonals certainly proved a great technique for quickly traversing a swollen river, with or without a casualty. Throughout the day we were constantly reminded to keep an eye on the water as various floaters (unconscious casualties), would often be seen in the water and it was our role to rescue/recover these people.
The day culminated with us using the inflatable boats out on the course without the aid of a guide. This proved to be great fun as my group were as mad as a hat full of ……. We went backwards, we went without oars, we went upside down, we were crazy idiots but it was great medicine as the course had become very intensive.
The evening was spent comparing war stories and licking our wounds over a few quite ales.
Monday and there was no let-up in the course intensity. The day was once again involved plenty of ropework and boat movements. Floaters, again kept us busy all day. The major activity for the day involved us constructing a high-line and traversing the flowing water.
The course concluded with a short theory test, which I must say we all completed successfully.